Issue by Issue – Marvel Two-In-One #66

Writer – Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio
Artist – Jerry Bingham
Inker – Gene Day
Colours – Bob Sharen
Letters – John Costanza

While The Thing, Stingray and Triton have survived their battle with the Serpent Society, the Serpent Crown has gotten away and Triton, taking Henry Croft with him, heads back to Attilan in the hopes of finding the cure for the man’s condition, that which started this entire adventure off. As it is, Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio send the two remaining heroes on their way in search of the aforementioned artefact, soon to be joined by the scarlet Witch as the rest of the Fantastic Four is indisposed. The writers of this issue also introduce the man behind everything that has gone wrong so far, one Hugh Jones who also happens to be the head of Roxxon and a man who already wields another Serpent Crown. It is here that Macchio and Gruenwald provide a little history on the object, of the one he wields and the other which is from a parallel universe. Together, the two crowns will give him unchecked power and that soon becomes apparent when the heroes arrive in Washington and find everyone in some sort of suspended animation. Of course, one cannot enslave an entire people and hope to get away with it as long as Ben Grimm is still able to fight back and that is exactly what the man does, though he makes little headway against the sorcery he faces. Wanda Maximoff who has come along in the hopes that her magic might be able to counter that of the Crown is little help as the power of the two crowns together is nearly unstoppable. What happens next, when the chips are down and the tension and suspense are at their highest, finds The Thing break free from his opponents and try to remove the crown from Jones’ head, a task even his vaunted strength may not be enough for, but he manages against everything to do it and with Wanda’s magic, they put a stop to the madness taking place. Drawn indubitably well by Jerry Bingham and Gene Day, the book looks great and when factoring in the story, it reads exceptionally well. With some good drama, a fair bit of suspense and a lot of great action, the book never bored the reader and it was nice to see it all wrapped up without dragging anything out. The Scarlet Witch was an inspired choice for a guest-star with ties to the Serpent Crown as shown in issue and with a brief appearance from Agatha Harkness, the book did not lack for star-power. At the end of the day, this was a fun story that leaves nothing on the table except for the ultimate fate of Ben and Alicia’s relationship which ended a couple of issues back.

4 out of 5

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